Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Sing Sing Correctional Facility is not the sort of place you'd expect to find a flourishing music community, but a workshop run by Carnegie Hall offers inmates the ability to learn in harmony. Twice a month, artists from New York City travel to Sing Sing and spend a day giving 30 inmates enrolled in the Musical Connections program formal training.

The Merry Spinster is one of the most anticipated books of the spring. Author Daniel Mallory Ortberg has recast classic tales, including "The Little Mermaid," The Velveteen Rabbit, "Beauty and the Beast," and even parts of the Old Testament, to make them resonate with new takes on romantic love, property rights, abusive relationships, gender roles and the stuffed animals we hold dear — and their unsparing lack of sentimentality.

Paul Thorn is a natural-born Southern storyteller with humble stage banter and musical delivery that's gritty and gruff.

This week's guest was never a very gifted athlete growing up. He had a spotty college career where he shared the starting spot with another quarterback, and was selected 199th overall in the NFL Draft back in 2000. Then he won the Super Bowl five times with the New England Patriots.

He's now the most famous Brady alive — but only because the TV show The Brady Bunch is no longer on the air. We asked him three questions about the classic family sitcom.

Click the listen link above to see how he does.

One of the most frequently hailed signs of social progress in the last 50 years is the growing acceptance and mainstreaming of homosexuality in the Western world. No novelist has chronicled this salubrious sea change in cultural attitudes more beautifully than Alan Hollinghurst. Beginning with The Swimming-Pool Library in 1988 and continuing through The Sparsholt Affair, Hollinghurst's grand literary project has been nothing less than to convey the changing status of homosexuality in British society in the last century.

If you're picking up a glass of Guinness this St. Patrick's Day, savor it while pondering this story from 1917, when Ireland's famous stout was cause for true celebration: It saved lives.

The strange tale takes place in the Irish Sea toward the end of World War I. Besides the traditional dangers of crossing this busy body of water in a small craft, the years 1914 to 1918 featured the additional danger of German submarines, which targeted all enemy vessels (not just military ones) and sunk many.

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Chef's Table restaurant in Moscow is a cozy space. There are about 20 seats at a horseshoe-shaped bar with a kitchen in the middle. It's a small room, but the man who runs this place has a big personality.

Diners seated around the horseshoe burst into applause when chef Vladimir Mukhin sweeps into the room in a snow-white, short-sleeved chef's jacket, his long hair tied back in a man bun.

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James Levine, the famed conductor who was fired earlier this week by New York's Metropolitan Opera following its internal investigation into allegations of sexually abusive conduct towards young artists, has responded by suing the Met and its General Manager Peter Gelb.

Memorabilia For Real, Ya?

Mar 16, 2018

A program from Lucille Ball's funeral? Dan Quayle's law degree, which was chewed up by his dog, Barnaby? Puzzle guru Art Chung's discarded coffee cup? They're all here! Guess which pieces of celebrity memorabilia are real and which are fake.

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

I Smell A Rat

Mar 16, 2018

It's time to RATchet up the stakes: the answer to each question in this final round game contains the consecutive letters R-A-T.

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

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Ask Me Another Again Later

Mar 16, 2018

In a brand-new segment, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton test their trivia acumen against their toughest competitor yet: a Magic 8-Ball. Ophira, Jonathan, and the 8-Ball each answer a series of yes-or-no questions. Who will come out on top? Sources say "listen."

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

Singing Around The House

Mar 16, 2018

In this music game, we've rewritten songs with the word "house" in the title to be about famous residences. Guess what house Jonathan Coulton is singing about, and, for a bonus point, guess the song he's parodying.

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

Mary J.K. Blige

Mar 16, 2018

I.M. Pei is famous for designing the Louvre Pyramid, but what about the lesser-known architect/movie buff IMDB Pei? Every answer in this game is the name of a famous person with initials in their name. We replaced those initials with an initialism beginning with the same letters.

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

Before appearing on the hit comedy The Good Place, William Jackson Harper was nearly ready to give up on acting. "I was in the basement of my feelings," he told host Ophira Eisenberg. "I was, you know, living with a whole bunch of dudes. And I was thirty-five. And I was like, 'I think I've been fair to this profession. I think it's time to move along.'" He went to Los Angeles for one last pilot season and was cast as the indecisive ethics professor Chidi Anagonye on NBC's afterlife sitcom.

Tunes For Tots

Mar 16, 2018

This game is what happens when rock stars have toddlers and suddenly need music their kids can listen to. We'll play a children's song by a well-known musical artist, and contestants ring in to tell us who's singing.

Heard On William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Clint Smith's TED Talk

How do you raise a child in a world taught to fear the color of their skin? Poet and writer Clint Smith explains the difficulty of black parenting, and the implications of being black in America.

About Clint Smith

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Dena Simmons's TED Talk

When Bronx-native Dena Simmons received a scholarship to attend a majority white boarding school, she felt like an imposter. Simmons suggests ways students of color can be made to feel more accepted.

About Dena Simmons

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Consequences of Racism.

About Adam Foss's TED Talk

Former prosecutor Adam Foss lays out the damaging effects an arrest, a criminal record, and a prison sentence can have on marginalized individuals. He argues prosecutors can be at the helm of reform.

About Adam Foss

No jazz musician has ever been heard more on public radio than the late Marian McPartland, the host of NPR's Piano Jazz for more than 40 years. But for all her ubiquity, how well did we really know her?

In one sense, St. Patrick's Day is a failure.

The holiday as we know it in America was promoted by activists to celebrate Irish culture, in order to fight prejudice against Irish immigrants. Today, many of us celebrate by going out drinking and acting out the very stereotypes the day was created to combat.

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With so much focus on Russian meddling in the U.S. election, that country has its own presidential election coming up this Sunday. And let's spend a few minutes now in Russia with Shaun Walker.


'Tomb Raider,' Franchise Nadir

Mar 15, 2018

"All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun," Jean-Luc Godard said, though he claimed he was quoting D.W. Griffith. But whether it was the man who made Breathless who proffered that formula or the guy who made The Birth of a Nation, they obviously didn't know everything there is to know about filmmaking: You need a tank-top, too.

Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to kids with what's known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But recently, adults became the biggest users of these drugs.

That's partially because more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD for the first time. But the new Netflix documentary Take Your Pills focuses on the use of these drugs to boost cognitive performance in college classrooms and the workplace.

Jose Padilha's 7 Days in Entebbe opens with a galvanizing flurry of activity. But the bustle is not the 1976 airliner hijacking that begins the main story, or the Israeli commando raid that concludes it. The prologue is a modern-dance piece whose relationship to the rest of the movie is puzzlingly tenuous.

"I'm just like you," says gay 17-year-old Simon Spier (straight 22-year-old Nick Robinson), by way of introduction. We assume, at first, that he's just getting his Ferris Bueller on and introducing himself to the audience, but it turns out he's instead replying, via pseudonymous e-mail account, to an anonymous blog post written by one of his schoolmates. A correspondence ensues between their respective, most secret selves, as both Simon and the young man he calls "Blue" are still in the closet.

In 1960, the great Japanese director Nagisa Oshima made Cruel Story of Youth, his second feature, about a rebellious young couple who perform sexual shakedowns on middle-aged men. Their M.O. is simple: She seduces, he robs. At the time, Oshima offered the film as a quick-and-dirty analog to the nascent French New Wave, with the couple representing a lost generation given to rebellion and criminality.

Here's a musical riddle that has kept people guessing for over a century.

English composer Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, ('Enigma') op. 36 is one of England's most beloved musical works. It's commonly known as the Enigma Variations.

In the latest battle involving the works of Harper Lee, the author's estate is suing producer Scott Rudin over the script of an upcoming Broadway play of To Kill A Mockingbird.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Alabama, Lee's estate complains that the new production by Rudin and writer Aaron Sorkin deviates too much from the novel.